Beachy style + leather sofa = Doable?

canadianmissApril 21, 2011

I am furnishing a beachy house in Florida and have 3 busy kids. Was thinking of a sofa in white leather..can this ever be considered in a beach interior? Not sure how to incoporate this.

I need something hard wearing and easy to clean.


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I definitely think leather could work. I'd go with a pale/light blue or a sand/tan color though. White leather is so stark.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2011 at 7:54PM
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All I can think of is sweaty thighs sticking to leather...and the noise it makes when one stands up. I do NOT equate leather and beachy-ness....

Washable slip-covered furniture, OTOH, absolutely.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2011 at 7:57PM
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We have always had leather sofas in our home and never had a problem with "noise" nor have we ever had a problem with "sticky, sweaty thighs".

    Bookmark   April 21, 2011 at 8:18PM
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I agree with mjsee.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2011 at 8:22PM
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laura mcleod

We love our leather sofa - kid proof, dog proof and still looks amazing. High quality leather does not stick to your legs, it is actually quite cool to the touch. Vinyl on the other hand....

So I think you definitely could go with white leather but I see it working best in a classic style with oversized chunky neutral pillows for texture, add a natural fiber rug and you are good to go I think. It will wear like iron!

Have fun -

    Bookmark   April 21, 2011 at 9:46PM
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It works for me - that's what we have. The couch would not have been my choice, but it belonged to SO, was expensive and good quality, so it stayed. It is easier to maintain - we wipe off spills and periodically clean with an Ivory liquid rub. Better than sweating into upholstery, and you do have A/C, I assume.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2011 at 9:49PM
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beachlily z9a

I have teal leather and live on a FL barrier island. Never had a problem with sticking to the leather but swimsuits are not allowed in the living room.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2011 at 7:25AM
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I also agree w/mjsee. White leather to me is not at all beachy. It's more disco-70s, to be honest.


    Bookmark   April 22, 2011 at 7:56AM
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In Florida, YES! but it depends on if you want "beachy" or Cottage-beachy. If beachy is what you want than yes and if white is what you want it's more about the style of the couch ( nothing like the 70's with big bulk) but slim line sofa's or sectionals with the right accents go great. In fact check out the florida furniture stores.
Just type in your search engine "Leather furniture stores in Florida" and mess around with leather/beach look and you should get some great ideas.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2011 at 8:53AM
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Perhaps it depends on where on has one's beach? Here in NC--even if one has A/C--the humidity is high enough that a beach house with a leather couch is uncomfy. We rented a beach house with a leather sofa. Once. But maybe that was an old-style one? It HAS been 20 years.

Up in Michigan or Nantucket or some such it might not be such a problem...

    Bookmark   April 22, 2011 at 9:33AM
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We have a great leather couch, but in Texas, heat and humidity even with A/C--your skin sticks. One of my least favorite parts of owning leather. I keep a beach towel to sit on handy in the summer.

I don't care for leather at all anymore, but it holds up to kids and wear & tear like crazy.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2011 at 1:51PM
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So there is more than one beachy style, yes? There might be the Florida modern and/or retro style itself, not necessarily casual beach; there might be how to use leather in a very casual beach theme and then the colors of sand, pale blue, pale turquoise come to mind as k9arlene posted; there might be snappy nautical themes in which navy, khaki or even deeper browns with blues and whites might work; and island-theme, British/Oriental, might mix leather with rattan and other finishes.

Style of sofa is important, as what I hear is you would not want the heavy, brass-studded library look (intentionally--it might be different if you already have an item you need to use and then you "mitigate" it with pillows and white cotton throws, or something.)

Whole 'nuther issue is seat-ability and comfort which seems to be a personal thing, though I admit I do not think of leather when I think of warm/breezy/swimsuit living. Nor nubby acrylic from the olden days, either!

    Bookmark   April 22, 2011 at 2:37PM
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I am going with the slipcovered sofas myself. But only because the look I am going for is beach cottage. Plus, I have 3 leather sofas already at my full time place and want something different at the beach house.

Now if you are going sleek, on the water Miami beachy then leather will be perfect. Maybe you can elaborate on what design style you are going for. That will help with the debate here of fabrics vs leather with better results.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2011 at 4:13PM
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laurainlincoln has some great ideas for the white leather. Mixed with natural textures and the right fabric and wall colors it could definitely look beachy and be comfortable too.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2011 at 7:34PM
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Thank you for all your input! I honestly don't care for leather either..look or feel of it. But I have a white slipcovered sofa now (Ikea Karlstad love the lines of it) and its a nightmare quite frankly. It is so stained and dirty and gross. Its doesn't help that the sofa must be completely disassembled to remove the cover to wash. Ugh.

I wanted something very kid & dog thoughts turned to leather. The sofa is the very first thing you see when you walk in the door, so I want it to look clean.

I am in the Keys and am going for a modern beachy feel. Not cottage beachy, but more clean lines. I have a lot of white trim and sand colored walls. Want it airy.

Not sure what the alternative is?

    Bookmark   April 22, 2011 at 11:44PM
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I think leather would work fine in your setting. If this is your vacation getaway house then you don't want to have to deal with cleaning sofa cushions or slipcovers. A white sofa with sisal or jute rug for texture and some nice beachy accents will work the trick. I have a white/ivory sofa and have never heard my room looks "disco". It is still white after 5 years of 3 kids and 3 dogs. Good luck!

My white couch:
(I've since added more furniture and other pieces)

    Bookmark   April 23, 2011 at 6:21AM
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Here's another one, check out link below

Here is a link that might be useful: White leather furniture

    Bookmark   April 23, 2011 at 8:07PM
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Try Palliser's new fabric, Phoenix, which is a copy of soft leather that is so real it is near impossible to tell. It feels like a quality Nubuk and is not the shiny/slippery kind that one sticks to in hot weather. We plan on getting this as soon as we can. It is 100% nicer than "bonded" leather which feels like vinyl.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2011 at 7:15PM
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i think leather would be fine in a beach house, but i personally wouldn't go with white...
then again, there's NO WAY a white couch in our house would look as clean as the above picture after 5 years!!! (3 kids and 2 big dogs)
my brother and his family have an ivory leather sofa and it was definitely looking dingy after a couple of years-they still have it 16 or so years later, but it has only gotten grimier over the years.
i would only go with white if you are really meticulous and your family is too!!

    Bookmark   April 25, 2011 at 8:22AM
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We have a beach house in New England, so I'm guessing we'd have different decor styles, but my two cents -- we had a big brown leather chair that DH insisted on relocating from our full-time house to our beach house, and it just bugged me for so long... it just didn't feel right. Finally when we remodeled the house, we got rid of the chair. As an alternative to leather, you might check out Ultrasuede. We have an ultrasuede sectional from American Leather, and so far it's been indestructible! It was expensive, but after about 5 years it still looks practically brand new. And the color is a fairly light gray -- I was nervous to get such a light color, but it has been great.

We also have a Bayside slipcovered sofa from Crate and Barrel, which is the most comfortable sofa I have ever owned! The slipcover has held up well -- I have washed the seat cushions just once because the dogs kept sneaking up there. It, too, is a light color (blue and white print) but it still looks pretty good.

Here's our gray sectional

and our Bayside sofa

    Bookmark   April 25, 2011 at 9:21AM
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Some great ideas! Thank you :) I'm in High Point NC right now scoping out leather and slipcover ideas.

I think I can do many choices!

    Bookmark   April 25, 2011 at 9:59PM
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I have the same decision but not white.

I've just moved to our beach house in No. California for my residence. I don't want a real beachy look because I'm tired of it and this is my real home now.

I have a white slipcovered sofa that has been a total nightmare. It is always dirty, washing it is difficult, I am so over slipcovers.

Some people come in from the beach and have lotions on their skin. This would effect any upholstery fabric, especially solids so I was thinking leather.

Would love to have a modern sand color leather but is it tough enough?

Would a harder leather be better?

How to clean up leather from oils from people sitting there?


    Bookmark   May 10, 2011 at 7:28PM
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Be sure to educate yourself about leather because some types are very durable and stain resistant, while others are not. I'll attach a link that gives some information. Basically, though, the more durable, spill-resistant leathers are made from lower quality hides and their surfaces are "protected" or "corrected" (painted, stamped, or have chemicals added to enhance durabiltiy). Those leathers are cheaper and cleanable, but are not as soft. The most expensive leathers are made from high quality top grain hides and are left in a more natural state which makes them much softer, but they can stain. Sounds like you'd want a protected leather that can take more abuse. Maybe you can get a small sample of a leather you're considering and test it to see if lotions/oils stain it.

Here is a link that might be useful: Leather information

    Bookmark   May 10, 2011 at 8:55PM
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Well this is my quandry...I want softer leather but I need protection this possible?


    Bookmark   May 11, 2011 at 5:54PM
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Hollie, did you look at the "Show Me Your Cottage Decor" thread in the Gallery? There are lots of beach decor photos in there. You may find inspiration not only about the sofa, but other design elements. Keep scrolling down to see all the pictures, and enjoy!

Here is a link that might be useful: Show Me Your Cottage Decor

    Bookmark   May 11, 2011 at 6:29PM
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Can someone please tell me what the sectional & rug manufacturer in this photo is ?
Here is a photo of my living room (all the furniture is the seller's):

I am shooting for exactly this look:


    Bookmark   May 11, 2011 at 6:37PM
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Paisley- It is a custom rug by Robert le Heros that I had made through the showroom. Many rug designers let you customize size, color and design. It took 6 months so not a great option if you are in a hurry. Also the sofa style can be found in many modern furniture stores for much less $$ than I paid. It is by Roche Bobois so are the accents. You can just google white modern leather sofa, and many online stores will pull up. The lamp is from West Elm or you can get the original at DWR for much more $$$ :)
Sorry Canadianmiss for the hijack!

    Bookmark   May 11, 2011 at 8:40PM
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Oceanna, thanks for the link, I was surprised to see a site like that.

Now that I've moved into my cottage style home, I've had it with cottage style and in my remodel am going more modern on the interior. With such less space that my prior home I think clean lines will help me feel more uncluttered and sorted.

I like paislylover's look but don't have that much space and am going to have to layer in some cottage to make it work with the kitchen which will remain a lot of beadboard.

I'm going to check out Sunbrella type fabrics for my furniture too. Paislylover's furniture wouldn't last a summer at my beach house, too many people in shorts with suntan lotion on. Mine will have to be more funky.

Thanks though


    Bookmark   May 12, 2011 at 1:49AM
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